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American Beauty
Short plot summary

Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is our hero - he is talking us through his mid life crisis...

Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) moves in next door with Ma and Pa, films girl (Jane Burnham (Thora Birch), Lester's daughter). Jane falls in love with Ricky who has a superhuman strength about him. She apparently asks him to murder her father at the beginning of the movie, thus setting up the tension for later on. Welcome to this strange movie world of disfunctionality...

What our panel of critics thought

"Oh! My!! God!!! How those red rose petals telegraphed that old devil called love!!! !t's Magn!f!co!!!!"

"A truly inspirational satire of American life. Nothing is as it appears until the end when everything disappears. If this movie was any more cynical it could sneer itself to death."

"Bravisimo! Never, in movie mayhem history, have I ever seen a peeping Tom fall in love and set to marry his prey and yet he is not the reason for the blood bath at the end."

Please tell me the ending (SPOILER)
Colonel Fitts sees what be believes is his son, Ricky, giving Lester Burnham a blow job. Ricky is in fact rolling a joint but the window through which this is seen is not big enough. When confronted with this fact, Ricky tells his father that he is gay.

The Colonel confronts Lester and a misunderstanding occurs (the Colonel is talking about the love that dare not speak its name and Lester is talking about the smoke that you dare not speak of). Colonel Fitts kisses Lester. Lester politely rejects the Colonel pointing out the misunderstanding. The Colonel then shoots Lester.

Dr Bravisimo-Encore II Movie Review

A truly mesmerizing tease, of who's gonna do what and when to dear old Lester, Kevin Spacey's triumphant middle aged victim of crisis.

Tis that moment of middle aged crisis when one suddenly comes to terms with a choice:

1) Keep on doing what you have always done - quiet desperation is how, it is said, most people live, or

2) Blackmail your boss for $60,000 and take a job in a burger bar

... it's your choice.

Thankfully, our hero chooses the latter choice, or else the movie would have been much the poorer for it.

A borderline classic, as on second viewing the tension evaporates as if down the plug hole of a bath. However there are some pleasing moments, and perhaps a lesson or two for the masses in their incredibly boring jobs... Jump! I tell you!

Quotable quotes (real)
"There is too much beauty in this world."
Other comments

One of those strange movies which pulls you in. Originally we saw this movie not expecting much (but noting it had won many awards). We were very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The problem with this movie is that once you have seen it (in a similar way to Sixth Sense after you have watched that back the second time just to check it) all the mystery has gone so really make an effort the first time around as that is the best time.

Date of Review

January 20th 2003.

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